Massachusetts Lawmakers Push to End Qualified Immunity

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Rep. Ayanna Pressley and Sens. Ed Markey and Elizabeth Warren, Democrats of Massachusetts, are introducing a bill to fully end qualified immunity, a legal doctrine that protects police and law enforcement officials from civil liability in cases where they are accused of violating someone’s constitutional rights, reports The Intercept. A previous bipartisan version of the bill was introduced last summer but failed to make it into the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act that was passed by the House last June. That measure instead included a provision to reform qualified immunity to allow individuals who file civil suits against local and federal law enforcement officers the possibility to recover damages, something the current qualified immunity doctrine widely protects against. The bill to end qualified immunity would apply to both future and pending civil litigation cases, ban the use of chokeholds and no-knock warrants by federal officers, limit the transfer of military equipment to state and local law enforcement, require state and local law enforcement agencies to report data on use of force, and establish a national registry of officers who engage in misconduct.

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